Pukekohe High School - 11/06/2015

Findings

Pukekohe High School is a large, co-educational secondary school that continues to engage students in relevant learning. Students’ success in NCEA qualifications is improving. The current goal is to raise the achievement levels of all students through a range of interventions and initiatives supported by the teaching staff and families.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three years.

1 Context

What are the important features of this school that have an impact on student learning?

Pukekohe High School is located close to the centre of Pukekohe township and is the only secondary school in the area. The expansive school grounds are shared with the adjoining Parkside School for students with special needs. The grounds allow students to enjoy participating in a multitude of sporting and other activities. There is ongoing redevelopment of the school site to cater for roll growth and the school’s expanding curriculum.

Several of the recommendations from the 2012 ERO review have been addressed. In particular, faculty leaders have played a key role in reviewing the curriculum and teaching practice within their faculty areas. This has led to students having the opportunity to take more ownership of their learning and teachers sharing with them the responsibility for planning and assessment.

Relationships within the school are respectful and friendly. Students work cooperatively with teachers and their peers. A commendably wide range of subject options continue to be available for students.

2 Learning

How well does this school use achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement?

Pukekohe High School uses achievement information well to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement. Teachers are committed to assisting students to make progress.

Focused learning support and good working relationships between students and their teachers in classrooms contribute to a settled school tone. Students told ERO that their teachers are there to help them achieve and that they continue to provide good support for them outside of timetabled classes.

School leaders use information to track student achievement over time. Although this shows that students are continuing to improve their achievement in National Certificate of Educational Achievement at levels 1, 2 and 3, school achievement rates are still below national averages. Senior leaders plan to review systems and lift overall achievement. They intend considering the school timetable, the timing of assessments and opportunities for re-assessments and the easing of subject prerequisites. Reviewing these should help the school continue to improve opportunities for students to actively engage in decisions about their educational pathways.

Some Māori and Pasifika students make very good progress and achieve well. School leaders and teachers recognise that improving Māori and Pasifika progress and achievement is a priority. Continued development for Māori and Pasifika students will require teachers to use innovative approaches. School leaders acknowledge that accelerating the progress of students who are at risk of not achieving, especially at Year 9 and 10, is the key to lifting their academic achievement.

Faculty leaders are leading good changes in teaching practice. Leaders emphasize the importance of teachers knowing their learners and of prioritising the needs of identified groups of students at Year 9 and 10. Teachers monitor their progress and achievement by sharing teaching strategies and other relevant information. Teachers are beginning to identify the changes that they may need to make in their teaching practice to accelerate the progress of, and improve outcomes for, students.

School leaders have made changes to mentoring and pastoral care systems to align with the focus on teachers knowing their learners. There is extra learning support for students at risk of not achieving. School leaders are more available to learners, supporting home-room teachers when they meet with parents at three-way student-led conferences. These meetings are well attended.

Students are well supported to achieve in their chosen courses. In some senior classes, teachers personalise students’ courses of study to make learning even more meaningful for them. Students choose their standards from a range of relevant activities then work with their teacher on the assessment tasks. Students in the same class can be working on completely different assessments.

Teachers continue to develop good e-learning teaching practices and are supporting students to develop innovative ways to achieve. Senior students can combine their Art, Music and Enterprise work for common assessments. Early links with vocational pathways are providing more realistic learning opportunities for students and opportunities for teachers to grow their teaching practices.

The flexible approach by some faculties to providing appropriate learning pathways, allows students to work towards gaining a qualification over more than one year. In some faculties, students negotiate with their teachers when they are ready to be assessed or to do a re-assessment. School leaders could review these innovative faculty practices to identify and strategically incorporate the most effective approaches into more areas of the school. Leaders could also investigate how teachers use the career benchmarks to promote opportunities for students.

3 Curriculum

How effectively does this school’s curriculum promote and support student learning?

The school curriculum promotes and supports student learning well.

From Year 9, students have the opportunity to choose from a wide range of subjects. They are encouraged to be active participants in any of the large number of co-curricular activities the school offers. Activities include opportunities for students to have extended periods of time away from the school exploring and learning about the wider Pukekohe area and to travel around the country and overseas.

More faculties are responding to student interests. Teachers plan their teaching and learning around student initiated work. Most faculties have good quality self-review processes and seek feedback from students to help with their strategic planning. The school continues to forge links with tertiary education providers as they investigate other educational pathways for students to access learning and achievement.

There is good provision of wrap around services by many different external agencies to support students and their learning. The school health centre is the hub for wrap around services that support students on a daily basis. There are good links to students’ homes, support from several community organisations and a holistic approach to caring for each student. It is timely for school leaders to review the work of these school-wide student support services. This would help to ensure they are as well coordinated as possible to benefit students and their wellbeing.

Teachers have good access to professional learning and development opportunities (PLD). These are identified by school leaders to align with the school’s charter goals. The planned annual schedule ensures teachers can focus on their teaching and learning through their appraisal and be supported by their faculty and colleagues. Given the school’s participation in so many projects over the past three years, it is timely for school leaders to review the effectiveness of PLD programmes and identify where further resourcing is most likely to benefit students’ learning.

How effectively does the school promote educational success for Māori, as Māori?

The school continues to develop its effectiveness in promoting success for Māori students, as Māori.

The school employs teachers to promote and teach Te Reo Māori. The appointment of a new teacher to the school with responsibility for Te Reo Māori across the school has already seen a resurgence of the school’s kapa haka. The board continues to consult with whānau, hapu and iwi. Long-term plans for a whare wānanga to grow te reo Māori are in the final stages.

The school continues to use and adapt strategies from the Te Kotahitanga professional development programme. Leaders use the aims and principles of Ka Hikitia – Accelerating Success 2013 – 2017, the Ministry of Education’s Maori Education strategy, to focus on accelerating students’ progress.

Māori students at Pukekohe High School are resilient. They achieve success in leadership, sports, and the cultural and academic areas of school life. Students are acknowledged for their success and their roles and participation at regular celebratory hui throughout the year.

4 Sustainable Performance

How well placed is the school to sustain and improve its performance?

The board is well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

Trustees are representative of the community. They are focused and undergo training to help them in their roles. Board operations reflect the school vision and values. Shared trustee strengths and strong community knowledge promote the work of the board. Trustees undertake their responsibilities with commitment and care. The board is in a good position to review its documentation to ensure good practice is evident in all areas of board operations.

The experienced principal leads a committed teaching staff. He promotes ongoing development of teaching and learning, and distributes shared educational leadership across the school. Processes for teacher accountability and development are well established, with documented evidence showing how well teachers meet teacher registration criteria. There is a positive and affirming school climate that provides a sound foundation for students’ learning

School leaders agree that accelerating the progress and lifting the achievement of students who are below the national average is the priority. The board can ensure that school documents and reporting processes reflect the school’s strong focus on students’ wellbeing and achievement. They can also ensure there is an increased focus on the impacts and outcomes for students.

In order to build on current good practice, the board and principal agree that their priorities include:

  • sharpening the charter targets and ensuring that there is a shared understanding by all staff of the strategies to achieve these targets
  • receiving evaluative reports to monitor school-wide action plans against measurable goals
  • continuing to develop a culturally responsive school through a board strategic plan that emphasises leadership, accountability and sustainability
  • reviewing the effectiveness and cohesiveness of the school’s approach to supporting student wellbeing.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students (the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

The school has good self-review for the care of International Students.

At the time of this review there were 23 international students attending Pukekohe High School. These students are well supported in their learning and pastoral care. There is a comprehensive network to track, monitor and support them as they go about their schooling. Learning programmes are adapted to their needs and students achieve their personal goals. They are involved in the co-curricular life of the school and are well integrated into the wider school community.

Board assurance on legal requirements

Before the review, the board of trustees and principal of the school completed the ERO Board Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklists. In these documents they attested that they had taken all reasonable steps to meet their legislative obligations related to:

  • board administration
  • curriculum
  • management of health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management
  • financial management
  • asset management.

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on student achievement:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)
  • physical safety of students
  • teacher registration
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance.

Conclusion

Pukekohe High School is a large, co-educational secondary school that continues to engage students in relevant learning. Students’ success in NCEA qualifications is improving. The current goal is to raise the achievement levels of all students through a range of interventions and initiatives supported by the teaching staff and families.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three years.

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

11 June 2015

School Statistics

Location

Pukekohe

Ministry of Education profile number

103

School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 15)

School roll

1578

Number of international students

23

Gender composition

Girls 806

Boys 772

Ethnic composition

Pakeha

Māori

other European

Indian

Tongan

Chinese

other Pacific

other Asian

other

53%

22%

8%

4%

3%

2%

4%

3%

1%

Review team on site

April 2015

Date of this report

11 June 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

August 2012

June 2010

February 2009